What if you can t stand where you are because there s nothing there? What if you don t want to end up anywhere else in case that s empty too? When life has lost its road map, sometimes the only way to get back on track is to get back on the rails.
The Seventh Train is a ride – a road movie on the railways. It s a journey that Elizabeth invented; the only original thought she has ever had in her previously uneventful life. Unbeknown to her, she is not travelling alone. If only she d pretended that the spare seat was taken.
1. When and where do you prefer to write?
WHEN is really whenever something grabs me and I cannot NOT write! This could be any time of the day, and often at night. I’ve suffered from insomnia since I was a child, so I’m often scribbling into the small hours. WHERE usually depends on where I am when something grabs me, but my favourite places are coffee shops; particularly ones in railway stations. ‘The Seventh Train’ was actually born in a café at Paddington station.
2. Do you have a certain ritual?
Not really, but I do prefer to write with pen and paper first and then type up what I’ve got into my laptop later. There’s nothing like the feel of ink on the page, especially when you find a lovely, smooth pen that fits perfectly between your fingers. And it’s really useful to be able to look back at all the things you’ve crossed out. It’s too easy to delete for ever when you only type straight into a computer.
3. Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
Coffee! Always coffee. And if I’m writing in a café, there’s usually a cake to keep me company too. When I’m writing at home in full flow, I often forget to eat altogether. Meal times can end up becoming rather vague. I don’t recommend this, by the way!
4. What is your favourite book?
‘Through the Looking Glass’ by Lewis Carroll. I first read this when I was about nine years old, and then every couple of years ever since. I marvel every time at the richness of imagination contained in it and the delicious use of language, particularly in some of the poems.
5. Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I’ve written quite a few plays for theatre and radio, and this is really how I started out as a serious writer. It’s a completely different way of writing because you really have to think in three dimensions all the time. It’s like using a different part of the brain. I would love to have a go at science fiction in the future, and I want to write more comedy and humour. My comedy plays have definitely been the most popular with audiences!
6. Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Not entirely, but there are characters that are made up of bits of people I know – but I’m not telling you which bits! I’m a real people-watcher, so there are aspects in all my characters that are inspired or triggered by being around both friends and strangers. Most writers are magpies, stealing the shiny bits from people wherever they go.
7. Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
Yes. Definitely. If you’re a writer, and you don’t carry a notebook around with you, why not?? You never know when inspiration is going to strike. It’s also a good idea to keep a notebook next to the bed for the times when ideas wake you in the middle of the night. It’s easy to think you’ll remember it all in the morning, but the chances are you won’t.
8. Which genre do you not like at all?
My taste is pretty eclectic when I read, but I do avoid books that contain very graphic violence or really gruesome horror. I have a very vivid imagination, and I find it too easy to visualise the things that I’m reading about, so graphic violence can disturb me quite deeply. That goes for fiction and non-fiction. Many years ago, I read ‘Salem’s Lot’ by Stephen King and I had to sleep with the light on for two weeks (I’m not kidding!). I kept imagining there were vampires in the dark corners of my room. Luckily, they’ve gone now.
Thank you, Jackie Carreira and Random Things Tours.
About the author
Jackie Carreira is a writer, designer, musician and co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre Company. British-born of Portuguese parents, she grew up in East London and lived for a while in Lisbon as a child. After travelling the world playing music for 12 years, she hung up her bass guitar and picked up a pen. She’s been writing ever since and twice been a winner of the Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama. Some of her plays are available online via lazybeescripts.co.uk. If Jackie could have another life, she would be a full-time philosopher and get paid to ask questions all day.